The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Continuing our efforts in the face of a growing crisis

Media Image Credits: 
Photo credit: Caritas Internationalis
Event date: 
30 Aug 2019

With continued violence and atrocities in Myanmar, increasing numbers of Rohingya refugees pour into precarious, overcrowded camps in neighbouring Bangladesh.  

Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.2 million Rohingya refugees, most of whom have arrived since August 2017, fleeing persecution and violence.  Aid agencies are struggling to serve all those who need assistance while providing support to host communities. Most refugees brought very little with them and are dependent on humanitarian aid for shelter, food, clothing, and healthcare.  

Myanmar and Bangladesh governments continue to negotiate terms for repatriation, with a foreseeable end to this crisis looking increasingly unlikely. In the meantime, families are living in unhealthy, dangerous conditions with limited access to basic services. 

Caritas Aotearoa NZ Director, Julianne Hickey says, “this is now a long-term emergency with no permanent resettlement solution in sight. The sheer scale and speed of the most recent influx of Rohingya refugees has had a significant impact on the host communities in Cox’s Bazar district, where almost all of the refugees have settled.” 

Cox’s Bazar district is one of the most impoverished regions of Bangladesh, already struggling to cope with extreme poverty, high population density, and the effects of regular natural disasters and climate change. Caritas Aotearoa NZ has committed to providing continued support to Caritas Bangladesh and is seeking support from New Zealanders in the face of worsening conditions. 

Ms Hickey says, “with the support of donors last year, matched with Government funding, Caritas Aotearoa NZ was able to send almost half a million dollars to its partner organisation, Caritas Bangladesh, for food, water, sanitation and hygiene. The need for assistance has grown and so we welcome the support of the Government again this year with matched funding up to $150,000, which means that for every dollar we receive from our donors, we receive another dollar from the Government.”   

For more information on the crisis or to donate visit 



Media contact: Amanda Gregan or 027 9399 575 

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ agency for justice, peace and development, and incorporates Catholic Volunteers Overseas. We are working for a world free of poverty and injustice through community development, advocacy, education, and emergency relief.  

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories. 

Follow Caritas on Twitter: @CaritasNZ 

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Tutu ana te puehu - Stirring up the dust